SB 899 would dramatically expand immunity protections medical professionals and facilities are granted under the state's Emergency Management Act. The bill would be retroactive to March 10, 2020 and remain in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency or state of disaster or through September 30, 2020, whichever is later.
The bill passed the Senate on May 7, 2020 25-13. Senate Republicans defeated two Democratic amendments that would have narrowly tailored the immunity to medical professionals who are specifically working with COVID-19 patients and allowed for legal complaints against discrimination, respectively.
MAJ is opposed to the bill and working to stop or mitigate it in the House. The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee and has had two hearings. Language in SB 899 is overly broad and could apply immunity protections to non COVID-19 cases. The bill’s provisions specifically immunize hospitals and other health care providers for failure to provide adequate personal protection equipment, not merely with regard to employees (who might be able to receive workers compensation), but for patients, family members, visitor, or other persons.